The potholes you describe, that reflex-like looking at only the moment, is exactly what I’ve been forced to do, having relentlessly driven 16,000 kilometres in the last month alone. The point gets hammered in pretty well along the way.
And I hate it. I hate seeing the world passing before my eyes, and failing to capture it. It pains me. Then I imagine having a thousand photographers, writers and videographers with me on the road. Then I imagine the depth, the breadth, the ocean of information that also they will fail to capture.
I calm down. I remind myself it is better to choose wisely and slice thin, but deep. As long as my memory holds.
But three years in and almost eight hundred camps later, my memory has blurred. Pinpoint the next location, drive, arrive, step out of the car, photograph the blue sky, step in the car, continue to the next location. Tyres wearing out. Pain in my bones. I’m tired, my friend. An endless wheel. My mind plays tricks on me. Is it one thousand seventy-four journeys? Or a thousand seventy-four destinations? For the first time in my travels, I accidentally arrived at the same destination twice.
Maybe this blurring is supposed to happen. Maybe this relentless grinding is the understanding that is offered me. Or maybe it’s a sign that nothing will come. Grind all you will. I just don’t know anymore.
I make triggers along the way however I can, and I hope that they will spark my memory later. And already, home, just forty-eight hours later, I need them to help me remember what I’ve seen. I’ve forgotten. I’m blurred. And I find myself reliving moments seemingly for the first time, physically divorced from the places I was just days ago. It scares me. Am I broken?
And on top of that, other fears blocking me from moving forward, afraid to make mistakes instead of just making them. And then the largest fear of all: standing still and losing an open mind.